- dave_c Jul 31, 2009 12:07 PM
Wow! I didn't even know that Chowhound had a Gardening board.
I recently was looking at saffron... so dang expensive...
I wondered if I can grow and harvest my own saffron here in the USA?
Is it just as good as the imported stuff?
More specifically, saffron is the dried stigma of an autumn-blooming crocus called, not too surprisingly, saffron crocus. They are often grown as an ornamental plant and work in zones 5 through 8. Somebody trying to grow their own better be prepared to spend a lot of time on their knees using tweezers on little flowers. For more description see: http://www.waysidegardens.com/gardeni...
I''ve grown saffron for over a decade. In east Tennessee I harvest mid October. That's important because the area needs to be weed free and rabbit free for a month beforehand.
Rabbits love the crocus leaves and my hunting cats have chosen an indoor life so rabbits are the new scourge.
Buy the corms now for planting soon. Put them where you can keep track of them. And put them where the leaves can stay green through winter until spring when they die back. The leaves are long and floppy and rather elegant and in good but not great or too wet soil the corms will multiply rapidly. Think of near desert conditions were the fall rains awaken them.
Pick the anthers the day they open or at a minimum one day after opening. After that...they're gone.
Dry them on wax paper. When totally dry, and only when totally dry they can be stored in a clean glass jar.